|Winter morning sky|
LB mentioned that she always remembers my Da at this time because one year at this sort of celebration he reminded her that at this latitude we don't see the mornings get brighter until later in January. He would have had Brendan McWilliams in mind, I know, as he loved to read McWilliams in the newspaper every day. One of the last public events my Da went to was a lecture by McWilliams on climate change. Here's McWilliams himself (thanks for the lovely gift SOT):
"If we were to set our clocks exactly according to the Sun, to what it called 'Local Apparent Time' or LAT and by which noon each day is the exact instant when the Sun is due south, then the annual shortening and lengthening of the days would be symmetical about the winter solstice ... But in real life we do not set out clocks to LAT. Measured accurately by the Sun, the days turn out for various reasons to differ slightly in their length ... than the precise interval we know as twenty-four hours. To avoid practical inconvenience, we 'pretend' as it were, that the days are all exactly twenty-four hours long; we use what is called mean time.
"Because of this, our clocks are usually a little out of step with the Sun, ... during December and January the effect of [this] is slowly to shift clock time a little forward each day as compared to real Sun time.
"... Once the winter solstice has passed, we ought to see earlier sunrises, but this trend is counteracted by the fact that our clocks are out of sync with nature; they show a progressively later time each late December morning than they ought to, which provides a trend for an apparently later dawn. Only near the end of January does the seasonal effect accelerate sufficiently to overcome this chronometrical illusion, and the mornings begin to become noticeably brighter."
[Published in the Irish Times on 02 January 2007]Small wonder then that it's the 'grand stretch in the evenings' that we notice first. Whatever it is, seconds or minutes per day, in the morning or the evening, I welcome it with open arms.
|Giant Sequoia (dead centre) and Scots Pine catch the winter morning sunlight|
|Remember this? Summer sycamore|
|Nandian domestica, Sacred Bamboo,|
with festive lights courtesy of the winter rain
|Ophipogon and Miscanthus|
Happy Christmas all, near and far.